EE 4G_Deerness Distillery Orkney
  • EE, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Futures Trust and WHP Telecoms Ltd. bring reliable connectivity to Stronsay and Rackwick
  • New masts will provide essential connectivity for emergency services, as well as local communities and businesses
  • Local business Deerness Distillery shares the benefits they’ve experienced since boosted coverage reached their area                  

Two new sites in Orkney – Rackwick (Hoy) and Stronsay - have been connected to 4G coverage for the first time thanks to EE’s partnerships with the Scottish Government and WHP Telecoms.

This new connectivity in Orkney is set to benefit businesses and residents across the islands of Hoy and Stronsay and provide vital connectivity to Scottish Emergency Services.

Deerness Distillery, a family-run business located in Orkney, was one of the first to receive 4G connectivity on the island through the Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) programme and has since seen its visitors and sales boost.

The tourist hotspot has experienced a spike in business as the new 4G coverage enables customers to use contactless payment technology, find them on maps, check-in online, as well as post their experience live on social media and review platforms.

The distillery is now undergoing a six-figure expansion project to launch three new Orcadian whiskies and is confident that the new coverage will significantly benefit its accompanying planned immersive visitor centre, café, and bar at its East Mainland base.

Stuart Brown, owner and co-founder of Deerness Distillery, said: “It’s been brilliant to see how quickly this new coverage has increased footfall and engagement with our brand online. A lot of visitors arrive unprepared for our rural location and can often struggle to find us, or not realise that they can’t use contactless payments or easily get online.

“Having this be a thing of the past has helped us to future-proof our operations and ensure better communication across the site. With visitors now able to find us on Google Maps and post about their trip on social media and Trip Advisor, our brand awareness and footfall is increasing, which is very exciting.

“We are thrilled to now be in a position to begin this exciting new chapter for Deerness Distillery by expanding our premises and introducing our new Orcadian whiskies department alongside our new café, bar and immersive visitor centre. We can’t wait to welcome visitors – both old and new – to our new areas!”

Rackwick and Stronsay were two of the four so-called ‘not spots’ to be connected across Orkney as part of the Scottish Government’s £28.75 million Scottish 4G Infill programme (S4GI) which is delivering 4G infrastructure and services to areas in rural Scotland which previously had extremely limited coverage.

Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer at BT Group, said: “With its logistically challenging landscape, and inclement weather, connecting these ‘not spots’ can present challenges. We’re proud to work to overcome these and be the mobile operator that’s leading the way in bringing better connectivity to rural Scotland.”

EE now has by far the highest levels of 4G coverage across Scotland’s landmass at 75%. This is 8 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor.

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Small Business, Trade and Innovation, said: “The four Scottish Government’s S4GI masts on Orkney are now activated and providing 4G services to the communities surrounding the masts at Stronsay, Burray, Rackwick and Deerness.

"Thanks to this £28.75 million Scottish Government programme, local residents, businesses and visitors in these communities can now access 4G for the first time, enhancing the way they work, communicate and access public services.

“S4GI is creating more opportunities for businesses on Orkney, helping them engage with the digital economy and adding to their security and viability.”

Martyn Cheyne, Group Chief Strategic Officer at WHP Telecoms, said: “As infrastructure provider for the programme, WHP Telecoms is pleased that our shareable structures are facilitating reliable coverage and choice to these parts of Orkney for the first time. Connectivity is a key pillar in strengthening our communities. WHP is equally delighted to be supporting Deerness and Burray Community Associations as part of our S4GI Community Benefit Fund, extending the reach of the S4GI programme to help ensure the Orkneys can thrive in this digital age, retain and attract people to develop a more sustainable connected population.”

By the summer of 2023, the Scottish Government’s S4GI programme is anticipated to deliver up to 55 masts. So far EE has brought 44 sites live since the beginning of the programme.

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About EE

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator. EE brought the first 4G network to the UK in October 2012 and launched the UK’s first 5G network in May 2019.

EE’s mobile network has received extensive independent recognition, including being named the UK’s no.1 5G network by RootMetrics® in 2020 and 2021, and the UK’s best overall network by RootMetrics® every year since 2014, as well as being named Network of the Year at the 2022 Mobile Industry Awards.

As well as delivering mobile services to consumers, small and medium businesses, corporate customers and Government programmes, EE also provides home and business broadband using both 4G and fixed line connections.

EE is committed to being number one for service in the industry, and has nearly 600 shops across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK’s Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019. EE was awarded The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards.

EE is part of BT’s Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT’s consumer customers in the UK.

About ESN:

ESN is a new 4G critical communications system set to replace the current Airwave service used by the emergency services in Great Britain.

Collaboration between the UK and Scottish Governments has enabled EE commercial coverage in addition to ESN coverage being available in these locations.

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